Nothing can be more tragic than boxers who died in the ring while practicing what they love.
Death, we know, is inevitable, and some people have been known to have a peaceful death that you might be tempted to wish for the same when the time comes.
Nevertheless, we are not in a position to choose where and when death catches up with us; else, many would have died sleeping on their bed or after taking their favorite meal.
Dying in the ring is more tragic and agonizing because these athletes stay alive and on their feet while death gently eats them up as they fight their way through it.
As you must have imagined, a death in the boxing ring comes with infinite pain, especially if caused by injuries. Other times, it is accidental.
This means that it happens so fast that its victim never sees it coming till it catches up with them, and in a matter of seconds, they are in the afterlife.
Records show that approximately 500 boxers have died through their engagement in the sport.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the boxers who died in the ring while practicing their favorite sport—may their souls rest in peace.
These athletes who fell victim to the death trap marked some of the tragic moments in boxing.
The Top 10 Boxers Who Died In The Ring
1. Angelo Jacopucci
Angelo was an Italian boxer who loved to call himself the clay of the poor. He won the continental middleweight title but was later taken from him.
In July 1978, he attempted to take back the title but died in the process.
In the 12-round bout, Jacopucci lowered his guard, and he was consistently hit on the face by his opponent.
At this point, the referee and line doctor should have called off the bout, but they were ignorant of his situation until he fell to the mat, and they declared a K.O.
He later took ill and was rushed to the hospital, where he went into a coma; hours later, Angelo Jacopucci was declared dead at the age of 29.
As a result of his death, the European title was reduced from 15 rounds to 12, and matches were no longer allowed to be hosted in remote locations that take more than an hour’s drive to neurological centers.
2. Duk Koo Kim
Kim was a South Korean boxer who died after fighting Ray Mancini for the world championship.
Mancini was more experience than Kim due to his previous participation in a 15-round bout twice and Kim none.
Days before the fight, Kim had written a message on his lampshade stating, ‘Either he dies, or I die.’
At some point in the bout, Kim was doing good with his punches that tore Mancini’s ear and puffed his eyes.
Eventually, Mancini bounced back in the 14th round and landed some heavy punches on Kim’s head, which made him fall to the mat and only struggle to get back to his feet. The referee declared a TKO.
Minutes after the fight, Kim slipped into a coma and gave up the ghost five days after.
Three months after Kim’s death, his mother committed suicide, and the referee who officiated the bout also committed suicide using a gun on himself.
3. Patrick Day
Patrick was a famous American professional boxer who died in a knockout bout against Charles Conwell.
During the fight that led to his death, Day had a traumatic brain injury after a knockout, which led to his death some days after.
Many public figures mourned Day because he was a young talented boxer loved by all.
4. Maxim Dadashev
Maxim was a Russian amateur boxer famously known as “Mad Max.” He participated in 14 matches, winning 13 and losing just 1.
Sadly enough, Mad Max lost his life with his first recorded loss in the ring.
That sad day was July 23, 2019, when Maxim lost the fight through stoppage.
His trainer perceived he was taking too many punches than he was letting out, so he called the bout to a halt at the 11th round.
Unfortunately, it was too late as Maxim couldn’t make it to the dressing room before collapsing.
They rushed him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed to be suffering from subdural hematoma.
Max underwent surgery, but unfortunately, his condition got worse, and he died survived by a wife and a son.
5. Benny Paret
Benny was two times welterweight champion in the early 60s. He died at the age of 25 after suffering from various injuries in a fight against Emile Griffith.
The fight that led to his death occurred on March 24, 1962, at Madison square.
Things got worse when Paret got cornered in the rope and followed by dozens of punches, and before the referee could bring the bout to a halt, it was already too late as Benny fell into a coma and died ten days later.
Paret’s death sparked some controversy, and Goldstein, who officiated the fight, lost his job and could not secure another as a ref.
6. Frankie Campbell
Frankie Campbell was an Italian-American heavyweight boxer who died in the ring at the age of 26 in San Francisco. He has a total record of 40 fights, winning 33 and losing just 4.
Campbell knocked down his opponent, Max Baer, in the second round.
Baer rose back to his feet, being enraged, so he mounted an attack on Frankie, who was caught unaware because he had his back to the ring.
The three punches that landed on his head cost him his death.
During his rest interval, Campbell pointed out that he felt something had broken in his head. He later died of a severe concussion of the brain.
7. Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne was an American welterweight boxer who died in the ring due to some complications even after winning the bout.
In March 2006, Payne won a bout against Ryan Maraldo, which was his last victory. After the match, he was helped out of the ring with a stretcher and taken to the hospital.
Payne was discovered to have internal bleeding in the brain, which later led to his death.
Before the game, Payne complained of a headache to his close one, but he never mentioned it to the doctor.
8. James Murray
James Murray was a Scottish bantamweight professional boxer who lost his life in the boxing ring. In October 1995, Murray was in a fight for the BBBofC against Drew Docherty.
During the fight, Murray fell to the ground having a seizure, and it was later discovered that he was bleeding in the brain. Two days later, he died of a brain injury.
A year after his death, a bronze statue was erected to honor the late boxer in Newmains, North Lanarkshire in Scotland.
9. Yo-Sam Choi
Yo-Sam Choi was a Korean boxing champion with an overall winning of 32 bouts out of 37.
In December 2007, Choi was in his final fight against Heri Amol, where he defended the intercontinental flyweight and won by unanimous decision.
Sadly, Choi collapsed before leaving the ring and was rushed to the hospital.
An emergency brain surgery was performed on him, where he was declared to be brain dead. He died the day after.
Choi’s organs were donated to six needing patients with his parent’s approval.
10. Ed Sanders
Ed Sanders, a.k.a Big Ed, was an American heavyweight boxer with a total fight of 9 with 6 winnings.
Sander was a Navy officer who struggled to engage in professional boxing simultaneously.
In December 1964, Sanders had his last fight with Willie James despite having complaints of previous headaches and shoulder X-rayed.
During the fight, Sanders, they say, appeared tired, and a simple combination of punches dropped him to the mat unconsciously.
He was carried out on a stretcher and never gained consciousness but died in surgery.
The names above are famous boxers who died in the ring and will be greatly missed. Professional boxing is, indeed, not a sport for the fainthearted.
Walking into the boxing ring takes a lot of courage as they never know if they will be coming out on a stretcher or their feet.
15 Dangers Of Boxing (Disadvantages, Risks & Injuries)